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Does My System Hurt the Environment?

Q and AThe Answer Guide

Does My Heating and Air Conditioning System Hurt the Environment?

What can I do to be more environmentally responsible?

Many consumers have grown more aware of their personal impact on the environment. People want to find ways to maintain comfortable, modern lifestyles, but they also want to do their part to protect the world we share.

The heating and air conditioning industry has been one of the most responsible about reducing the industry’s impact on our environment. Yet, we cannot do it alone. Some of the greatest environmental gains come from simple steps you can take.

A Few Facts

  • Thanks to the heating and air conditioning industry, our cities are much cleaner today than they were a century ago. It’s true. Remember the foggy London of Dickens’ England? It wasn’t really foggy, it was smoggy London, thanks to coal fireplaces and boilers.
  • Though unheralded, modern gas and electric heating systems have probably done more than any single innovation to clean the air in our cities.
  • The heating and air conditioning industry is a leader in environmental protection. Long before there was a Montreal Protocol or Kyoto Agreement, the heating and air conditioning industry voluntarily began to reduce and eliminate the use of ozone damaging CFCs and HFCs.

What’s the easiest thing I can do to help?
One of the simplest, most economical, and smartest things you can do to reduce your home’s environmental impact is to tune-up the air conditioner every Spring (heat pumps should be tuned in the Spring and Fall) and to clean and adjust the furnace burners in the Fall. This helps the environment by restoring system efficiency and capacity, which reduces waste and run time. It also cuts utility expenses, reduces the potential for an equipment breakdown, and extends equipment life. It’s not just smart for the environment. It’s smart for your wallet and your time.

What can I do to make the most impact?
The most significant way you can reduce your home’s environmental impact is to purchase one of today’s most efficient systems. Heating and air conditioning technology has improved dramatically in recent years, both minimizing the industry’s environmental impact and energy costs. The most efficient gas furnaces release the least amount of nitrous oxide and other by products of combustion. The most efficient air conditioners and heat pumps use the least electricity, cutting smokestack emissions at generating plants.

How can I avoid damage from refrigerants?
Older residential air conditioners use HFCs, which do impact the ozone layer, but far, far less than the CFCs found in household refrigerators. Since your air conditioner is a sealed system and we capture and recycle HFCs from your air conditioner, there is little risk that your refrigerants will impact the environment as long as there are no leaks. If your systems leaks refrigerant, it is important to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible. If you replace your air conditioner, many new air conditioners use a different type of refrigerant that is environmentally neutral.

© 2002 Service Roundtable